TT Hongli Brand, 1/144 Ahead Review

“It is more important for us to employ intelligent combined-arms tactics than it is for GDI because it is the Pen that is mightier than the Sword. And we are both the Pen and the Sword when skilled modern armies are commanded by intelligent strategies brought upon by a true military strategist.”

– Anton Slavik

Adapted from Tiberian Sun

Things here have been reduced to a crawl due to an ongoing major project which would determine my Diploma’s state of happiness. Therefore updates wont be coming in as often as before (if that weren’t often enough).

Anyway, today I’ll be doing a ‘special’ review of the TT Hongli Brand, 1/144 Ahead. Yes, I’ll be doing a review for a bootleg model kit. But before you hurl the bowling ball at me, I have to say this kit is quite surprising.

Before that, while on the same subject, allow me to present a pic of something I encountered a few months back in the neighborhood. You know those knock-off gachapon machines that are cheap as crap? Guess what I saw.

Is that who I think it is?!

Forgive the crappy quality as it was taken on the go. But In case you cant see clearly who that is…

Its mother-effin’ Setsuna ‘pimp’ Seie!!! D=

Really now, take the Super Yoyo franchise, add a dash of Bandai and this is what you get?

In China most likely. But really now, this fails on so many levels that its a win.

Now on a more related subject. A few months back I was at Vivo City wandering the wilderness. I happen to chance upon a model kit store which, of course, Im not naming (hint: its next to the cinema) . Inside I came across a bunch of Gunpla, all of which were of the TT Hongli knockoff brand. And looking at the box art, you can see exactly where they failed at pulling off a good ripoff heist.

00 Fighter eh? *summons Domon* I wanted to do a video recording of all the model kits there, but I was stopped abruptly by the storekeeper. What really caught my eye were the prices of these knockoffs.

Sweet niblets! SG$9.90! From my experience, a 1/144 HG 00 Gundam costs at around 23-26 dollars. Here its almost a third of that price.

It was a deal I could not refuse, I simply had to cash in on it. I decided to try my luck with the 1/144 Ahead. Naturally of course I was worried that this knock off would be like the terribly bad GHD brand. But 9.90 a piece, I was willing to take that risk. Besides, I had plans to make use of the scrap parts if its didnt work out. And if that weren’t  enough, I later go a discount from the storekeeper who cut the price down to SG$7.50. Sweeeeeeet~

From watching Prime92’s model kit reviews, I was under the impression that the TT Hongli brand of gunpla are not as bad as they seem. But will I be just as lucky with my luck of the draw?

The results are surprising.

And here it is! The 1/144 Ahead. And surprisingly its actually a rather good model for a knockoff. Well for one, its certainly isn’t falling on its own feet. Sure it has alot more problems than an official kit would have, but we’ll cover that later.

Showing up at the beginning of Gundam Double 0 season 2, the Ahead is the commander’s unit for the A-LAWS peacekeeping force. Its bears traits to that of the now mass produced GN-X III, but surprisingly, its closest living relative is actually the Tieren Ground type. And from this you can roughly see some of the traits from the Tieren that influenced its overall design, such as the legs and arms.

Articulation on the model is rather good. And in fact is reminiscent of the Tieren. Arms can rotate 360 at the shoulder and can move back and forth from the body thanks to its design. It also rotates below the shoulder and also rotates below the elbow which is unique.

The upper and lower body are connected by a ball joint which allows the upper body to move up and down. Those ‘side skirts’ dont really move at all actually. Since there are no front or back skirts, the legs can go forwards and backwards alot.

This is where I compliment the leg joints because they use the same design of the Tieren. And that means it is double jointed with alot of bend, can go forwards and backwards at the hip and the feet can turn 360, also with lots of movement.

In terms of accessories, the Ahead xomes with a few.

You get:

– 1 GN Submachine gun (plus two cartridges and a barrel for its beam rifle mode)

– 2 GN Beam sabers (all white as shown above)

– 1 GN physical shield

– 1 Automaton container

– 2 Anti-personnel automatons

The weapons are pretty standard for a mobile suit.  Unlike the GN-X, the Aheads use a much different looking beam weapon. The rifle has a foldable handle and the stock can connect to the arm of the Ahead for a more secure holding. Also, the kit comes with additional parts to turn into its beam rifle mode.

The two beam sabers are molded in white and theres no place to store them on the model. In fact they didnt even give you the handles for any clear beams to attach on which is a bummer.

However, one of the interesting things about this kit is its automaton container. The container itself is to pieces sandviched together and cant actually hold any automatons. It pegs into the butt of the model and replaces the thruster that was originally there.

But the kit also comes with two little automatons which are so puny, they dont even exceed the model’s foot. Unless kept well, they could go missing real easily.

Now on to the problems. Being a knockoff, there are certainly some problems that arise with it, so my judgment cant be exact on this. Surprisingly the real problems lie during the constructing of the kit rather than anything else.

Firstly, due to the mold flaw, the parts are all very stiff, which means you need to have the strength of an ox to get some parts together and the cautiousness of a mouse not to break anything.

Next, the polycaps the provide is shit. TT-Hongli polycaps are all out of shape and will require ALOT of trimming.

The plastic is bad. Its really bad quality plastic with lots of imprints on it.

Lastly some of the joints are loose and love to come off. I’m pretty sure the Bandai version doesn’t have any of these problems. This occurs alot to the lower arm. But considering none of my other models ever suffer from this, I take it its just a knockoff problem.

Due to this being a bootleg, I cant show you an accurate pros and cons list. But despite the above mentioned problems, the kit is actually quite likable.

All in all the Ahead is actually a great model to get, but was brought down by this fake version. I certainly dont recommend buying the knock-off if you can help it. But if you ever see the official one, by all means, its a great kit to add to your collection. Why?

If the knock off is already this good, I believe the official Bandai version will be excellent. Do yourself some justice and purchase the original, especially if you know you can afford it.

Final Rating: 4/5 stars

On a more unrelated not, I just got back from Anime Festival Asia 2010 which was held at Suntec City Singapore! Got abit of treasure from the trove, and I’ll be sure to show you the prime of the events in the next post.

-Raisha

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~ by Raisha on November 13, 2010.

2 Responses to “TT Hongli Brand, 1/144 Ahead Review”

  1. I find it slightly offending that such a place like VivoCity doesn’t sell legit Gunpla. :/

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